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Memories Meet Muse

A muse in the verb form means to ponder or reflect. As a noun, however, the muse becomes a power that inspires a poet or artist or, to my mind, a writer. Writers speak with familiarity of their personal muse and, in many instances, rely on the sometimes elusive power that haunts their minds and guides their fingers over the keyboard. A muse dwells within our minds. Fertile ground for writers, but like virgin soil the muse needs something to expand and grow.

All of my stories rely on a variety of memories, some as simple as the rise of wind before a storm accompanied by the distant roll of thunder. The warmth of sun on a summer day or the crisp chill of fall with hills dressed in deep reds and brilliant yellows. My next story digs deep into the past and weaves bits and pieces of years gone by and places no longer in existence into a current day story. My muse insists I add spice to those memories from years gone by, adding suspense, mystery and romance.

'Return To Intermezzo' took root when I uncovered an old photo taken on a vacation many years ago. Intermezzo is the name scrolled on the front of the tiny cottage in the photo.  Upon researching the name I discovered it means a pause between serious acts in a play, similar to an intermission with light musical entertainment. The definition fits. A vacation should be a pause to lift the soul and break up life's oftentimes monotony.

Memories branched like new growth as each chapter unfolded and I discovered when muse met memories the harvest was bountiful.

~ Inside research for Sweet Deception ~

While doing research for Sweet Deception, Cocoa Treats Chocolates is loosely based on Ritz Chocolate, a locally owned shop that’s been around for over 100 years and spans three generations of candy makers. Please Visit their website to see the delights I encountered there! http://www.ritzchocolate.com/aboutus.html
Research continued with two wonderful friends, one a clinical psychologist, the other a practicing psychiatrist, who helped me get inside the head of a psychopath.

A combination of Sweetness and Deception.

Tempting Research!
Nancy and Bill Zaphiris at Ritz Chocolate
Tempting Research!
Nancy and Bill Zaphiris at Ritz Chocolate

 

And last, meet my beloved, though long gone, orange tabby. I plan to bring Alex back to life in Sweet Deception as Truffle, a feisty feline named after a delicacy from Cocoa Treats Chocolates and part of Delilah's unexpected inheritance. That's all I'll say for now, but check back in the future to learn more about Alex/Truffle and my upcoming 2013 release

Alex AKA Truffle

Alex/Aka/Truffle

Watch for Sweet Deception from Desert Breeze Publishing late in 2013!


Creating Characters

When creating characters, writers reveal a bit of themselves, right? Or, is every character a writer creates unique, individuals with their own traits, quirks, and personalities?

Think about it. If the first statement is true, then a story about a serial killer might paint this unsavory character as a vicious, heartless soul who never utters a word of profanity, never lets a discouraging word cross their lips. A polite monster?

If this were the case, readers seeking a gritty tale of mystery or suspense would soon move on to more realistic prose in their favored genre.

A character is a concept within the writer's mind, one which translates onto paper with words chosen to paint a picture in the reader's mind. If writers were a reflection of the characters in their stories, eventually imagination and creativity would wither and die.

To further my point, here's a quote from writer Terry Odell. "You want your voice to be recognized, but not intrude on the story. If you want the reader caught up in the story and the characters, you, the author have no business being on the page. Every word on the page should seem to come from the characters, whether its dialogue or narrative."

My reason for putting this aspect of writing under the microscope stems from an observation from a treasured friend and reader. How do I make my friend, or any reader, understand that although I don't talk like a psychopathic stalker, I need to get into the head of the one lurking in my story?

Research plays a major role in writing. By visiting a site, through interviews, or plain old Google, a writer must find out what makes someone tick to create a specific character.

I've discovered ladies of the night, scheming good-for-nothing thieves, and yes, even our heroes - law enforcement, military, private detectives, etc. - usually do not mutter "gosh darn or fiddlesticks" when life dumps on them. Face it, sometimes a situation calls for gritty dialogue.
A writer may never vent with colorful, gritty, words, but that doesn't mean he/she won't write about characters that do. In fact, if every character talked, acted, or reacted similar, wouldn't they all soon appear to be cut from the same cloth?

Each individual writer creates their own guidelines for the stories they write. Despite the twists and turns I initiate when writing Romantic Suspense, I follow self-imposed guidelines. In romance fiction, a happy ending is required. Attraction and state of mind play an important role building tension between main characters on their journey to that ending.

Romance Genre Fiction runs the gamut - Sweet to Erotic. Writers decide what level they want to portray, along with how coarse their character's language will be. As a writer, I set the stage, reveal emotions, tension, reaction, and let the reader's imagination do the rest. In doing so, my personal writing voice is revealed.

I don't write to elicit moral judgments, I write fiction. Steamy, romantic fiction, but keep in mind, characters that appear to wander and weave through stories out of control are destined to eventually restore the reader's faith in happily ever after.

I'll close with a favored quote by Maya Angelou. "The idea is to write so that people hear it, and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart."

~

Within this article I quoted author Terry Odell. To learn more about Terry visit her website at: http://terryodell.com

 


 

Recipe For a Romance Novel Cover

When I type ‘the end’, it means words Deadly Revengefloating around in my head have come together to create a story. Doing so is equivalent to the oven timer signaling ‘done’ for a carefully crafted dish.  A blend of suspense, mystery, and a generous dash of romance combined for readers to enjoy.

But wait. Something’s missing!

Ah, the cover. The eye-catching picture, be it on a print edition or splashed on an e-publishers website, the cover lures the reader. It provides a strong visual image, a hint as to what can be found between the pages.

Upon completing ‘Deadly Revenge’ - the second in my Deadly Triad series - I wanted my cover to entice readers, to send a message, to provide that subtle hint. So, I sent Jenifer Ranieri, a multi talented lady who designs covers at Desert Breeze Publishing, several turbulent lake photos taken by my husband, a better than average photographer. I thought a male silhouette holding an M14 rifle beside the crashing lake would send a strong messsssage about my story.

Jenifer tweaked the lake scene, admirably so, but the man holding the gun just wasn’t working. The M14 is a sleek-barreled weapon with a gracefully curved wooden stock. The inserted silhouette grasped a heavy, scope laden weapon with a super large ammunition clip and looked like he had on a helmet. I shot off a stock photo of an M14 which resulted in a passable weapon, but the shooter image still lacked conviction to me.sss

A hurried call and a quick trip across town to Bob’s Gunshop and Indoor Range followed. Former Marine, now photo bug husband, was thrilled to get his hands on an authentic M14. The gun shop owner, another former Marine, was ready and willing to help. He switched out the ammo clip for one I preferred and provided the perfect spot by an open window to take pictures. The lighting was just right to catch the image, and after a few adjustments to his digital camera, my husband handed the camera to me and became a Romance Novel Model!

The pictures I’ve included show the photo chosen for the cover and the lake scene before Jenifer’s skilled enhancement.

A couple of pictures and a great cover artist. A recipe I’ll share for a fantastic romance novel cover!  


Thanks for stopping by my website.

Nancy Kay